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LXEB2112 LAND LAW I

2015/2016 SEMESTER 1
1 INTRODUCTION

1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

- Federated Malay States Land Enactment of 1911


- Federated Malay States Land Code 1926
- Charter of Justice 1807
- Charter of Justice 1826
- Straits Land Act 1839
- National Land Code 1965 (NLC)
- National Land Code (Penang & Malacca Titles) Act 1963
- Sarawak Land Code (Cap 81)
- Sabah Land Ordinance (Cap 68)

Ainul Jaria Maidin. ‘Conversion from English Deeds System to Torrens System of
Title Registration in Penang and Malacca: Process and Problems’ [2007] 2 MLJ lii;
[2007] MLJA 52.

1.2 THE RELEVANT PROVISIONS UNDER THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

- Definition of ‘State Authority’: s 5 NLC

Hunud Abia Kadouf. ‘The Traditional Malay Ruler and the Land: Maxwell’s
Theory Revisited.’ [1997] 1 MLJ cxxi; [1997] 1 MLJA 121.

- Federal Constitution 1957, Ninth Schedule, List II, Item 2 (State List)

- Federal Constitution 1957, Article 76(1)(b) & (4)

East Union (Malaya) Sdn Bhd v Government of State of Johore & Government of
Malaysia [1981] 1 MLJ 151; [1980] 1 LNS 18.

Lim Chee Cheng & Ors v Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Seberang Perai Tengah, Bukit
Mertajam [1999] 4 MLJ 213 (CA):
‘The appellant contended that s 214 of the National Land Code 1965
did not apply to Penang unless it was adopted. There was no such
adoption. Dato' Alizatul, the State Legal Adviser Penang, on the other
hand, contended correctly in our view, that as the National Land Code
1965 was enacted by Parliament at the request of all States under art
76(4) of the Federal Constitution for the sake of uniformity, the
question of adoption did not arise. Finally, Mr Rajasingam agreed, if
indeed it came under cl (4) of the above article, then there is therefore
no need for any adoption. We agreed with the substance of Dato'
Alizatul's submission and dismissed the applicant's motion with cost.’

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- Federal Constitution 1957, Article 95D

1.3 TORRENS SYSTEM VS ENGLISH TITLE DEEDS SYSTEM

1.3.1 English Title Deeds System

- ‘title deeds’
- Nemo dat rule
- Weaknesses/problems

1.3.2 The Genesis of Torrens System

- Conceived by Robert Torrens


- System of title by registration
- Three main principles:
-
(i) Mirror principle

(ii) Curtain principle

(iii) Insurance principle

Teh Bee v Maruthamuthu [1977] 2 MLJ 7; [1977] 1 LNS 134.


‘Under the Torrens System the register is everything.’

Creelmon & Anor. v. Hudson Bay Insurance Co. [1920] AC 194 (PC) as per Lord
Buckmaster at 197:
‘… to enable an investigation to take place as to the right of the person to
appear upon the register when he holds the certificate which is the
evidence of his title, would be to defeat the very purpose and object of the
statute of registration.’

1.3.3 Torrens System under the National Land Code, Sabah Land Code & Sarawak
Land Code

- Matters to be considered:
(i) Torrens title

(ii) Conclusiveness of the Register


See Ho Hon Wah v UMBC [1994] 2 MLJ 393

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(iii) Indefeasibility of registration

(iv) Necessity of registration

Q: Whether the system of land tenure in Sabah based on Torrens system of land
registration?
See:
Lin Nyuk Chan v Wong Sz Tsin [1964] MLJ 200.
Borneo Housing Mortgage Finance Bhd v Time Engineering Bhd [1996] 2 MLJ 12
(FC).

1.4 ALIENATED LAND UNDER THE NATIONAL LAND CODE 1965

- Perpetuity or leasehold: ss 76 & 76(aa) NLC

- Register document of title & issue document of title

1.5 AN OVERVIEW OF ‘DEALINGS’ UNDER THE NATIONAL LAND CODE


1965

1.5.1 Capable of registration

- Transfers, charges, leases & easements

Q: What if there is non-compliance with the NLC?


- See s 206(3) NLC

1.5.2 Incapable of registration

- Tenancies & statutory liens

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1.6 BASIC LAND LAW CONCEPTS

1.6.1 Ownership v Possession

1.6.2 Title v Interest

Romesh Roy. ‘Title or an Interest.’ [1996] 1 MLJ xxxvii; [1996] 1 MLJA 37

1.6.3 Legal interests v Equitable interests

Kok. ‘A Review of the Court of Appeal Case of Luggage Distributors (M) Sdn
Bhd.’ [1995] 2 MLJ cxxv; [1995] 2 MLJA 125

1.6.4 Real property v Personal property

1.6.5 Disposal v Dealings

1.6.6 Restrictions in interest v Conditions

1.7 APPLICABILITY OF ENGLISH DOCTRINE OF EQUITY RELATING TO


LAND IN MALAYSIA

1.7.1 Is the National Land Code free of English land law?

e.g. law of easements, leases & tenancies

1.7.2 Legal Consequences of Land Dealings in Non-Compliance with Statutory


Requirements: A Comparison

1.7.2.1 The Selangor Registration of Titles Regulation 1891

- s 4:
‘…all land which is comprised in any grant or lease in perpetuity ... shall
be subject to this Regulation and shall not be capable of being transferred,
transmitted, mortgaged, charged, or otherwise dealt with except in
accordance with the provisions of this Regulation, and every attempt to

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transfer, transmit, mortgage, charge or otherwise deal with the same,
except as aforesaid, shall be null and void and of none effect ...’

1.7.2.2 The FMS Registration of Titles Enactment 1911

- s 4 of the Selangor Registration of Titles Regulation 1891 re-enacted in s


5 of the 1911 Enactment
- Similar provisions in the Mining Enactment of each of the FMS

Luk Yim v Chin Chin (1907) Innes 73.


John Gardner v Siau Kuan Chia (1912) Innes 159.

1.7.2.3 The FMS Land Code

- s 55:
‘All land which is comprised in any grant, lease of State land, certificate
of title or entry in the mukim register ... shall be subject to the provisions
of this Enactment, and shall not be capable of being transferred,
transmitted, charged or otherwise dealt with except in accordance with the
provisions of this Enactment.’

- s 96:
‘No instrument until registered in manner hereinbefore prescribed shall be
effectual to pass any land or any interest therein or render any land liable
as security for the payment of money, but upon the registration of any
instrument in manner hereinbefore prescribed the land or interest specified
shall pass or, as the case may be, the land shall become liable as security
in manner and subject to the agreements, conditions and contingencies set
forth and specified in such instrument or by this Enactment declared to be
implied in instruments of a like nature.’

1.7.2.4 The National Land Code 1965

- s 205(1)
- s 206(1), (2), (3)

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1.7.3 The Judicial Developments in Other Statutes

1.7.3.1 The Civil Law Act 1956

- s 3:
‘(1) Save so far as other provision has been made or may hereafter be
made by any written law in force in Malaysia, the Court shall

(a) in West Malaysia or any part thereof, apply the common law of
England and the rules of equity as administered in England on the 7th day
of April, 1956;
(b) in Sabah ...
(c) in Sarawak ...

Provided always that the said common law, rules of equity and statutes of
general application shall be applied so far only as the circumstances of the
States of Malaysia and their respective inhabitants permit and subject to
such qualifications as local circumstances render necessary.

(2) Subject to the express provisions of this Act or any other written law in
force in Malaysia or any part thereof, in the event of conflict or variance
between the common law and the rules of equity with reference to the
same matter, the rules of equity shall prevail.’

- s 6:
‘Nothing in this Part shall be taken to introduce into Malaysia or any part
of the States comprised therein any part of the law of England relating to
the tenure or conveyance or assurance of or succession to any immovable
property or any estate, right or interest therein.’

Judicial Approaches to the Scope & Effect of s 6

(I) s 6 prohibits only English common law

Devi v Francis [1969] 2 MLJ 169.


Woo Yok Wan v Loo Pek Chee [1975] 1 MLJ 156.
Alfred Templeton v Low Yat Holdings Sdn Bhd [1989] 2 MLJ 202.
Wong Ah Yan v Lee Joo Eng [1997] 1 CLJ Supp 282.

(II) s 6 prohibits both English common law & rules of equity

Datin Siti Hajar v Murugasu [1970] 2 MLJ 153.


T Damodaran v Choe Kuan Him [1979] 2 MLJ 267.

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Chin Choy v Collector of Stamp Duties [1981] 2 MLJ 67.


UMBC v Pemungut Hasil Tanah Kota Tinggi [1984] 2 MLJ 87.
Tan Wee Choon v Ong Peck Seng [1986] 1 MLJ 322.

1.7.3.2 The Specific Relief Act 1950

- Purpose: to empower the court to grant certain specific and injunctive


equitable remedies and reliefs

- s 11(2):
‘Unless and until the contrary is proved, the court shall presume that the
breach of a contract to transfer immovable property cannot be adequately
relieved by compensation in money, and that the breach of a contract to
transfer movable property can be thus relieved.’

- s 26(b):
‘Except as otherwise provided by this Chapter, specific performance of a
contract may be enforced against –
(a) ...
(b) any other person claiming under a party to the contract by a title
arising subsequently to the contract, except a transferee for value who
has paid his money in good faith and without notice of the original
contract.’

- s 3(c):

‘Except where it is herein otherwise expressly provided, nothing in this


Act shall be deemed –
(a) ...
(b) ...
(c) to affect the operation of any law in force for the time being relating to
the registration of documents.’

Luk Yim v Chin Chin (1907) Innes 73. [s 4(c) of the Selangor Specific Relief
Enactment 1903.]

Chan Gun Lai v TF Anderson Pole (1911) Innes 126. [s 4(c) of the Negeri
Sembilan Specific Relief Enactment 1903]

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1.7.4 Judicial Approaches to ss 206 & 304 of the National Land Code 1965

1.7.4.1 Section 206(3)

Templeton v Low Yat Holdings Sdn Bhd [1993] 1 MLJ 443.


Kimlin Housing Development Sdn Bhd v Bank Bumiputra (M) Sdn Bhd [1997] 2
MLJ 805.
Kwong Hing Realty Sdn Bhd v Malaysia Building Society Bhd [1997] 1 CLJ Supp
167.
Wong Ah Yah v Lee Joo Eng [1997] 1 CLJ Supp 282.
Tan Chiw Thoo v Tee Kim Kuay [1997] 2 MLJ 221.
Wan Salimah v Mahmood Omar [1998] 1 CLJ 48.
Amar Singh a/l Sundar Singh & Ors v Jivanjit Kaur d/o Sohan Singh [2010] 6 MLJ 771
CA.

1.7.4.2 Section 340(4)(b)

Ong Chat Pang v Valliappa Chettiar [1971] 1 MLJ 224.


Krishnadas v Maniyam [1997] 1 MLJ 94.

1.7.5 The ‘Non-abrogation’ Theory of Australia on Equity

1.7.5.1 The ‘Non-Abrogation’ Theory

Barry v Heider (1914) 19 CLR 197.


Butler v Fairclough (1917) 23 CLR 78.
Abigail v Lapin [1934] AC 491.
Breskvar v Wall (1971) 126 CLR 376.

1.7.5.2 The Application of Australian Cases in Malaysia

Ong Chat Pang v Valliappa Chettiar [1971] 1 MLJ 224.


Karrupiah Chettiar v Subramaniam [1971] 2 MLJ 116.
Inter-Continental Mining Co v Societe Des Estates De Bayas Tudjuh [1974] 1
MLJ 145.
Bhagwan Singh & Co Sdn Bhd v Hock Him Bros Sdn Bhd [1987] 1 MLJ 324.

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1.7.6 Rare Cases of Judicial Rejection of English Equity under the National
Land Code 1965

Verama v Arumugan [1982] 1 MLJ 107.


Punca Klasik Sdn Bhd v All Persons in Occupation of the Wooden House Erected
on a Portion of Land Held under Grant No 26977 for Lot 4271 in the Township of
Johore Bahru, Johor and Another Action (No. 2) [1996] 5 MLJ 92.

Articles:
Kok, ‘Equity in Malaysian Land Law (I)’. [1994] 3 MLJ clvii; [1994] 3 MLJA 157.

Mohd Akram, ‘Closure of the Door to the Reception of Equity in Land Matters Expressly
Dealt with by the National Land Code 1965’. [1985] 2 CLJ 298.

Yong, ‘The Role of English Equity in the Peninsular Malaysian Torrens System of Land
Law: A Review of Salient Statutory Provisions (Part I)’. [2005] 1 MLJ lxviii; [2005]
MLJA 68.

Yong, ‘The Role of English Equity in the Peninsular Malaysian Torrens System of Land
Law: A Review of Salient Statutory Provisions (Part II)’. [2005] 2 MLJ cvii; [2005] 2
MLJA 107.

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1.7.6 Rare Cases of Judicial Rejection of English Equity under the National
Land Code 1965

Verama v Arumugan [1982] 1 MLJ 107.


Punca Klasik Sdn Bhd v All Persons in Occupation of the Wooden House Erected
on a Portion of Land Held under Grant No 26977 for Lot 4271 in the Township of
Johore Bahru, Johor and Another Action (No. 2) [1996] 5 MLJ 92.

Articles:
Kok, ‘Equity in Malaysian Land Law (I)’. [1994] 3 MLJ clvii; [1994] 3 MLJA 157.

Mohd Akram, ‘Closure of the Door to the Reception of Equity in Land Matters Expressly
Dealt with by the National Land Code 1965’. [1985] 2 CLJ 298.

Yong, ‘The Role of English Equity in the Peninsular Malaysian Torrens System of Land
Law: A Review of Salient Statutory Provisions (Part I)’. [2005] 1 MLJ lxviii; [2005]
MLJA 68.

Yong, ‘The Role of English Equity in the Peninsular Malaysian Torrens System of Land
Law: A Review of Salient Statutory Provisions (Part II)’. [2005] 2 MLJ cvii; [2005] 2
MLJA 107.

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